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When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There are many things to consider when it comes to taking care of your home.

  • Should I get a security system?

  • What types of light bulbs meet my lighting needs but are going to be energy efficient?

  • Should I install carpeting or laminate wood?

And if that’s not enough, include one more thing on the list: When should I replace my heating unit?

Your heating system shouldn’t require continuous attention, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted, either. Ignoring your system could result in indoor air that is loaded with dust or allergens (or worse!), or even an inefficient heating unit that is wasting energy and money with every energy bill.

But how do I know if it’s time to replace my heater?

The following warning signs can help you determine if you just need a quick service or if it’s time to replace your current heater.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is common for a heater to eventually need a part replacement or a little TLC once a year to make sure everything is running smoothly, but a well-maintained heating system should work without much repairing along the way. A few indications that your system may be in need of replacing are below:

  • calling the service technician frequently for the same problem;
  • needing numerous visits during the same heating season;
  • constantly writing checks just to keep your house comfortably warm.

A general rule to remember: if yearly repair costs reach 50 percent of the present value of the heating unit, then it’s likely time to replace your furnace.

2. Energy Efficiency

Are your utility bills are a little more than this time last year? That may be a sign that some part of your heating system is weakening. Most companies can give you a residential energy audit which can point to easily remedied inefficiencies like weather-stripping around your doors and windows or attic insulation. It may also be the first step in deciding if your heating unit is in need of replacing. Older heating units can be very inefficient, while newer technologies are much more efficient at heating your home. Also, upgrading to a high-efficiency product could mean tax credits or utility rebates and incentives to help you recoup the cost of the new system.

3. Old Age

Heating systems were never designed to last until the end of time. Newer, more efficient systems are coming out all the time. But how long should your heating unit last? The magic number for a furnace or boiler is 15 years. But keep in mind many old furnaces operate at an efficiency of just 65 percent or less! A replacement that’s been qualified with the Energy Star rating can be up to 30% more efficient, and that’s a difference you’ll notice in your home and your bank account.

4. Excessive Noise

If you are having to raise your voice to talk because your system is so loud, that could be a sign that your duct system is undersized and too much air is being pushed through too small an opening.

Other noises like squealing, shaking, clanking, or banging could be signs of a mechanical problem. It could be as simple as a worn belt, but it may mean an internal component of your unit has loosened or come completely detached.

Today’s latest products work more quietly than ever. Often you’ll have to really play close attention to even know when they’re running. If noise pollution is important for you, that may be reason enough to upgrade to more modern equipment.

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues

If you are having to constantly bump up the heater to keep things in the house comfortable, that should be a major warning that it’s time to re-evaluate your furnace. There are several factors that could cause this issue - it may be fixed with a new thermostat that allows you more control – so before you assume that you’re in for a whole new heating system, give some thought to your thermostat.

6. Humidity Issues

In the winter, low humidity makes the air inside your home feel colder than it is, often tricking you into turning up the temperature. Common grumbles when the humidity is too low are dry air, sore throats, and chapped skin. Low humidity can even negatively impact wood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating units help to keep this precious balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the heating unit.

7. Air Quality Issues

A number of issues that don’t directly relate to temperature can be improved significantly with an expertly designed and properly installed HVAC unit. If you are experiencing issues with household odors, airborne allergens, such as pollen and pet dander, germs, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting a professional heating system contractor can start you on the road toward fixing them.

So you do all your investigating and decide you do need a new heater, or you want to upgrade your furnace to green technology, replace your home’s ductwork, or do a total overhaul of the entire system, call Abbey Air Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.